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Fibroids, Fear, and Fertility

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Can fibroids affect your chances of getting pregnant? Can fibroids cause miscarriages? What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are commonly occurring benign (non-cancerous) tumors which begin growing in the muscle layer (myometrium) of the uterus, hence their medical name “myoma.” It is estimated that at least half of all women will develop a fibroid during their life. Fibroids are the most common benign reason that hysterectomies are performed in the United States.

Usually, fibroids are harmless and most women are unaware of their condition until a medical exam or an ultrasound confirms their presence. This often gives rise to worry, fear and concern that fibroids can lead to cancer, miscarriage and infertility.

In reality, however, these benign tumors are mostly asymptomatic unless they become large enough to cause pelvic pressure or painful and heavy periods which at times result in severe, debilitating anemia.

When fibroids become problematic, it is usually due to their size, location and degeneration causing them to soften and liquefy. Large bulky fibroids located inside the chamber of the uterus can interfere with embryo implantation causing infertility or possibly miscarriage during the time of fetal development. When found in this interior location, they are called submucosal fibroids and lend themselves to removal by hysteroscopy.

uterine-fibroids-infertility-west-coast-fertility-centers photo

There are two other varieties of fibroids. Intramural fibroids are located in the walls of the uterus. Suberosal fibroids are found on the external uterine surface. These types of fibroids can be removed surgically when they cause symptoms as previously mentioned.

Regarding infertility, submucosal myomas, accounting for 10% of all fibroids, can potentially cause significant problems with embryo implantation and difficulty during the continuation of the pregnancy. When discovered in this location, careful removal of the fibroid followed by estrogen replacement can help restore the uterine anatomy and lead to successful pregnancy.

Whenever fibroid removal is performed (myomectomy), a cesarean delivery may be indicated to avoid rupture of the uterus during labor.

To learn more about fertility and fibroids, please contact West Coast Fertility Center at 714-513-1399.